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Star-Shaped Foods for 4th of July

Hey friends, I received an overwhelming response to my White Wine Sangria with Star-Shaped Pineapple recipe so I decided to give you a few more playful ways to let your STAR shine in your foods. All these ideas add that personal twist to your 4th of July festivities and a unique touch that leaves yours guests thinking your the next Martha Stewart :)

Do you remember the star-shaped tortilla chips I talked about for your Oscar party? They also work great for 4th of July.



Festive Fruit Ice Cubes! I am all about the cocktail, so spark it up and add a little kick to your spirits this season. It’s simple, pick up an ice cube tray in the shape of stars, I got mine at Cost Plus, then get creative. Different fruit juices add the color and fresh fruit and herbs accent clear water for an infused taste. Also looks festive in a jug of water or in a non-alcoholic drink. My FAVE is mint stars in my mojito. Yum.


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Star-Shaped Watermelon on a Stick. It’s so simple, but adds that extra creative touch. Use a star-shaped cookie cutter and cut out the stars out of watermelon. Pick up popsicle sticks from any grocery store and  attach to the watermelon.

Fun Tip: Display in a watermelon that has been cut in half!


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Display in a bowl of fruit


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or use to garnish a cocktail


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What’s more American than Jello? See it wiggle, see it jiggle…Here’s a fun idea the kids will love.


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Please remember to…






How to Personalize your 4th of July


I love to personalize a party and 4th of July is around the corner, so what better way to get your party started then to put your own magic touch on your festivities, right? It’s all in the details and the sparkly touches that makes a party unique and memorable. Here are a few tips I shared this morning on Action News Now and taught Alex Backus how to get her party on. Thanks Alex for your continued support, you know I think you are DARLING!

1.  Flag Pallet- This is a super easy and fun project to do with the family, a great way to personalize your party. My daughter, Makenzi and I worked on this project together. Shipping pallets are imperfect, so there is no such thing as perfection.  In fact, the more imperfect it is, the more vintage it feels. Shipping pallets are readily available at any company that regularly receives large shipments, they are often advertised for free on places like Craig’s List. Here’s how we did it.

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First, we measured with a ruler the area we wanted to be blue.

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We sprayed the penciled area in navy blue, then rotated the rest of the pallets in red and white to create the look of the American flag,


After we let the paint dry, we downloaded a star stencil online and began stenciling the stars on the navy blue.


Viola! The finished product!


2. 4th of July White Wine Sangria. TO DIE FOR! I love that it is made from my fave, white wine! It’s mine kind of patriotic punch.  Accent with fun items from both The Summer and Stars & Stripes Trunk.


Here’s how to make it: Best White Wine Sangria you’ll ever have!

Combine Strawberries, blueberries and cookie cutter star-shaped pineapple, 2 bottles of white wine, 1/2 cup triple-sec, 1/2 cup of berry flavored vodka, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of simple syrup in a 3 Qt. pitcher, stir, chill and serve!

3.  Be creative with the Kid Toys! These fun windmills have a patriotic touch when placed in a nautical vase and a scoop of sand. Like I said, It’s all in the details my friends.


4. Personalize with the Chalkboard. Everyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE my chalkboard. It’s the best way to make your party SHINE with your personality. Here’s a little of me shining on my chalkboard!


5.  If you are feeling a little crunched for time, pick up The Stars & Stripes Trunk and everything will ship to your door ready to celebrate a festive holiday.

For more fun tips, be sure to watch “How to Personalize your 4th of July” on Action News Now.

HAPPY. HAPPY to all my friends. Much love to a safe and UNIQUE 4th of July.



Your Memorial Day Menu

I want to make things a little easier for you this Memorial Day, so I went ahead and planned your menu for you. I compiled my favorite recipes that are Memorial Day festive and a great kick off to summer living.

Cocktail of Choice: 

Star Spangled Sangria- Sangria makes me smile. This is a great cocktail to kick off your party and light some fireworks.  I especially love that this Sangria recipe is made with white wine instead of red.


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pineapple- cut into star shapes.



4 oz vodka

2 oz triple sec

1 bottle of white wine

2 oz of simply syrup


Tortellini Kabobs- The bright red tomatoes accent your red, white and blue theme.

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Cheese Tri-color Tortellini-Cooked
Grape tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella balls marinaded in oil and herbs.
Wood Skewers
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh chopped parsley (optional)
Main Dish
Fancy Hot Dogs. It would not be American without a hot dog, but if you are anything like me, you have to gourmet it up a bit. Thank you Bon Appetit for these fun recipes.

The Dogs

Garlic Mojo Hot Dogs

Muffuletta Hot Dogs

Hot Dogs with Poblanos, Pepper Jack, and Tomatillo

Hot Dogs with Dal and Red-Onion Raita

Beer-Braised Hot Dogs with Braised Sauerkraut

Grilled Hot Dogs with Mango Chutney and Red Onion Relish

Manchego Cheese and Garlic Dogs

Harissa-Onion Dogs with Preserved-Lemon Relish

Cheddar Dogs with Cider-Braised Leeks and Apples

The Toppings

Tricolor Pepper Relish

Pickled Baby Squash

Cauliflower Chowchow

Pickled Peppers

Quick-Pickled Onions


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Stars and Stripes Cheesecake Shots- Serious YUM!
Recipe by Carrie Sellman
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4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup + 1T sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
8 to 10 graham cracker sheets, finely crushed
Fresh Berries


  1. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until smooth.  Gently stir in cool whip until well blended.
  2. Fill individual glasses half way with cream cheese mixture, either using a spoon or a piping bag fitted with a large round tip for a more polished presentation.  Top with 1 tsp graham cracker crumbs.  Shake glass to level crumbs.  Fill to the top with more of the cream cheese mixture.
  3. Lightly sprinkle with additional graham cracker crumbs and top with berries.  Add a star pastry for an extra fun little touch.
  4. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.  Serve chilled.  Makes roughly 16 mini servings, depending on the size of your serving glass.
I hope this made your day a little easier. Have a delicious and indulgent Memorial Day!



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The Memorial Day Party Guide


We are gearing up for Memorial Day weekend, also known as the kick off weekend to summer living! So it’s time to dust off the patio furniture, pull out the red, white and blue and pay our respects to the men and women who have fought for our country.  So, as most Americans do, let’s throw a party!  Here’s my quick guide to making your memorial weekend extra special, let the 3 day weekend begin.

Here’s my Checklist:

Party Prep

  • Plan your guest list. Send out the Evite. Online invitations are a quick way to get the job done.  I especially love how easy it is to send out last minute reminders and track RSVP’s.
  • Check the weather forecast to plan for bad (or amazing) weather.
  • Plan the location. Make sure there is plenty of room to house all your guests.  I prefer to party outdoors for Memorial Day as it lends to outdoor BBQ’s and all American fun.


  • Think red, white and blue!  Red napkins and red Solo cups are a perfect pop of color.  Use navy blue paper plates and plastic utensils tied up with a navy stripe ribbon  to accent your decor.  Place in a bright white bucket to keep everything together and uniquely organized.
  • American flags, hanging lights, tiki torches, floating candles, and paper lanterns are great for setting the mood of the party.
  • Running out of time? Get the Stars & Stripes trunk, everything you need to host an all American party.
  • Use simple flowers like daisies, cut them short, and place them in mason jars for a little southern feel.
  • Balloons, streamers and pinatas add decoration and double as party activities for the kids.

Pillows are a great way to add texture and a pop of color to your event!



  • Party rule #1: Ice, ice, and more ice
  • Typical BBQ always does the trick (hamburgers, hotdogs) is always delicious, but you can also try ribs, pork tenderloin, chicken, and a grilled vegetable assortment.
  • I love supplying the main dish and having my guests bring their favorite red, white and blue dish!  A fun idea is skewering blueberries,strawberries and mini chocolate brownies on a shish kabob stick.
  • Stock the cooler and beverage station with plenty to drink: ice cold water, lemonade, soda and adult beverages keep the partiers happy and refreshed!
  • When setting the menu, plan to have food for vegetarians as well.
  • Sides like veggies, fruits, salads, chips, dips, and desserts like cookies, brownies, and cupcakes are convenient. Be mindful of the weather – you don’t want anything sitting out in the hot sun that could spoil or melt.
  • If possible, place food under a covering such as an umbrella or overhang.
  • Set up food buffet-style and arrange plates and utensils at the start of the line to keep it moving quickly.
  • Have separate seasoning and beverage stations with condiments and such to avoid delays in the buffet line.
  • Stock plenty of napkins at the drink station, along with stirrers and straws.

Festive Party Straws tie the look together!


Set up

  • Move indoor furniture outside for additional surface space and seating. Benches, chairs, stools, and side tables are versatile.
  • Have clearly labeled trash and recycle cans.
  • Leave sunscreen and bug spray out for guests to use.
  • Have plenty of umbrellas or canopy tents for shade.
  • Lay rugs or outdoor pillows on the ground for additional seating.
  • I love having a basket of throws available in case it gets a little chilly.
  • Be eco-friendly with reusable plates.  I love Susty party, they have festive colors!
  • Make sure to have outdoor activities for kids, Stencil Stars is one of my favorites.
Now get to it! It’s time to plan a party and pay tribute to our American heroes.